As I proceed warp factor forward I find myself taking on Star Trek: The Next Generation almost as a chore. This is one of the most electric moments of the affair thanks to the special effects.
Season One is an excruciating experience when viewing it through the prism of entertainment alone. The enjoyment factor alone to this particular season of the science fiction series is nearly absent. Watching and appreciating it on some level, any level, is a daunting task. I feel I have been kind thus far with the series. One shouldn't have to work this hard. It's one thing to analyze smart science fiction you enjoy, but it's entirely another when a program lacks both.
Save for Season One, Episode 6, Where No One Has Gone Before, it has been less than satisfactory at best. I'm reminded of Bruce Springsteen's One Step Up [from the classic Tunnel Of Love] and the chorus, "One step up and two steps back," because that is exactly what the creators have done here following Where No One Has Gone Before with Season One, Episode 7, Lonely Among Us. A missed opportunity of building on the entry before is where this entry has gone.
I have illustrated many reasons along the way, along with some additionally fascinating commentary by others, why this series is failing so abysmally in its first season. If I can offer you images from the episodes without saying too much going forward I'll be doing well. Fingers crossed I make it through Season One of ST:TNG.
Antican Marc Alaimo, future ST:DS9 star villain Gul Dukat, is well made-up as the lead Antican. He plays the dog well. Alaimo would also appear as different characters in ST:TNG's The Neutral Zone, The Wounded and Time's Arrow.
Synopsis: The crew of the Enterprise is tasked with escorting the ambassadors of two battling races [the dog-like Anticans and the Lizard Men-like Selay] to Parliament. They desire to esentially eat each other. The Enterprise passes through an energy cloud and picks up a lonely lifeforce that first affects Worf and Dr. Beverly Crusher. Inevitably it takes on Captain Picard as its host. Could it be even this lonely, little lifeforce sees the Captain as a weak vessel of leadership? At the very least, he seems awfully suceptible to failure from a host of external forces. Picard, in essence, takes on a new personality as he delivers the alien home. It exits with Picard as pure energy into space. Picard rematerializes via the transporter room a la ST:TOS The Enemy Within. Picard resumes his role as Captain of the Enterprise from Riker. Meanwhile Data channels Sherlock Holmes through his own inner detective. Sure sounds fascinating right? No, not really, because it isn't.
The bizarre Lizard Men of Flash Gordon .
Apart from the typically weak Season One script, a rare example from D.C. Fontana, we are presented with make-up effects that may rank slightly higher than those attributed to the Ferengi in The Last Outpost. The lizard men/ race reminisces of the creatures found in Dino De Laurentiis' Flash Gordon  starring Sam Jones. The dog creatures are not impressive and Planet Of The Apes  did a far superior job with moving prosthetics nearly twenty years earlier.
The use of Picard's character in Lonely Among Us felt eerily familiar. Creating a schism of personality using the Captain seemed to be borrowing from Star Trek: The Original Series' The Enemy Within complete with a play on the transporter. While events do not unfold the same, they are treading significantly familiar ground with the concept here. On the whole, it's another mostly uninteresting, muted installment where characters are force fed poor dialogue that is sorely lacking. The attempt to give Data a personality by suddenly introducing us to his interest in Sherlock Holmes is a case in point. It feels contrived and lacks the flow of ST:TOS.
Marina Sirtis is showing signs of becoming the voluptuous one.
This simply doesn't cut the mustard, but you can see an effort to move the needle in a different direction here. The Data segment feels as unreal and unnatural as the Data character himself. The creators of ST:TNG continue to execute boring stories with this one. If I didn't feel lonely watching this one, alienation might be a more fitting term. ST:TOS never left me cold in this way. This is less than satisfying, mostly forgettable Star Trek material.
Lonely Among Us: C-
Writer: Michael Halperin/ D.C. Fontana
Director: Cliff Bole
The return of Colm Meaney is one of the episode's highlights.
Director footnote: Cliff Bole [?-]. Bole does a solid job behind the camera. The flaws in his first appearance here rest solely with the material. The popular director was behind the camera for 11 episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man between Season Three and Five, three episodes of The X-Files, 25 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, 7 episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and 10 episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. He also worked on Charlie's Angels, V, T.J. Hooker, MacGyver and Baywatch.